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Columbia Could Take Major Financial Hit Over Response to Gaza Protests

More than 1,000 alums have pledged to withhold support from the school.

New York police arrest a student protester at Columbia University
Selcuk Acar/Anadolu/Getty Images

Columbia University alumni are firing back at the university over its crackdown on student protests demanding the school divest from Israel-aligned companies and weapons manufacturers. 

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 1,600 alumni from the university’s 20 schools have signed an online statement pledging to “withhold all financial, programmatic, and academic support of Columbia University” until certain demands are met, including, but not limited to: 

Divest from all companies and institutions that fund or profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation in Palestine.

Ensure accountability by increasing transparency around financial investments.

Drop charges against student activists and reverse expulsions, suspensions and disciplinary action. 

End the policing and militarization of Columbia’s campus by removing and banning the NYPD. Continuous NYPD presence on campus until May 17th is unconscionable.

Hold accountable faculty members, administrators, and any other University affiliates who have harassed and assaulted student human rights defenders.

Sever all academic ties with Israel, including Columbia’s Global Center in Tel Aviv and the GS Dual Degree program with Tel Aviv University.

Remove Minouche Shafik from her position as University President.

More than $67 million of financial contributions to the school are at stake if demands are not met, according to the statement. 

The statement cites the university’s lack of a good-faith response to a Columbia College student body vote on a divestment referendum in late April that passed with 76.55 percent of voters calling to cancel the university’s Tel Aviv Global Center and end the dual degree program between the School of General Studies and Tel Aviv University. The statement also noted that Barnard College passed the same referendum with a 90.99 percent majority. 

As the statement points out, Columbia has a history of protests similar to the recent student protests over Israel’s war in Gaza, citing a three-week blockade of Hamilton Hall in 1983 over the university’s investments in apartheid South Africa. Protesters at the time renamed the building Mandela Hall in honor of anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. That effort led to the university becoming the first Ivy League institution to divest from South Africa.  

On April 30, pro-Palestine protesters took over Hamilton Hall and renamed it Hind’s Hall to honor 6-year-old Hind Rajab, a Gazan who was killed alongside her family by Israeli forces during the current war.

While wealthier donors, such as billionaires Robert Kraft and Leon Cooperman, have threatened to or have withheld their financial support to Columbia University for not taking a harder line against pro-Palestine protesters, Thursday’s alumni statement is the first such effort in support of the students, albeit from individuals with seemingly less wealth. 

Columbia’s protests have inspired similar activism from institutions across the country, which have been met with violence but also some successes and even acceptance from campus officials

Read more about the protests:

Marjorie Taylor Greene May Finally See Consequences for Shenanigans

Trying to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson might have been a red line for many of her colleagues.

Marjorie Taylor Greene frowns
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Representative Marjorie Taylor Grenee’s spectacularly failed effort to strip Speaker Mike Johnson of the gavel has earned her a whole slew of new enemies.

The motion to vacate fell apart Wednesday after an overwhelming majority of the House voted 359–43 to keep Johnson in leadership. But the time-consuming and chaotic effort came at the cost of Greene’s already minimal popularity in the lower chamber, with Republicans insisting that the Georgia Republican see some level of consequence for leading another attempt to divide an already thin and historically unproductive majority.

“I would suggest a 80 percent rule. Oddly enough, what the Freedom Caucus has,” Representative Ryan Zinke told Politico. “If someone routinely violates the rules … then it should be the conference’s decision of whether he should be removed or suspended from committees.”

Other conservative lawmakers insinuated that Greene could lose her committee assignments for causing more intraparty bedlam. Greene currently sits on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, as well as several related subcommittees.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some changes on a couple of committees after watching that motion to table vote,” Representative Steve Womack told the outlet.

Representative Dusty Johnson, meanwhile, claimed that there was an “extremely high level of interest” by a “high number of members” to completely change the rules around how the House functions.

“I am interested in anything that would make the House run better,” Johnson told Politico.

But Greene was already prepared for the backlash, flagrantly brushing off the ramifications of her own behavior.

“They probably want to kick me off committees. They probably want a primary. I say, go ahead.… That is absolutely their problem,” Greene told the publication after Wednesday’s vote.

Stormy Daniels Keeps Roasting Donald Trump While He Just Watches

Stormy Daniels took the stand for a second day in Trump’s hush-money trial—and she didn’t hold back.

Ralf Hirschberger/picture alliance/Getty Images

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels got in some jabs at Donald Trump, who is accused of paying her off via his lawyer to cover up their affair before the 2016 election, during her testimony in his hush-money trial Thursday.

During cross-examination, Trump attorney Susan Necheles asked Daniels a series of questions that seemed to have been posed to make the former president happy, including one about Trump being a good golfer at the tournament where they met, and whether a lot of people followed him around. Daniels didn’t play ball, saying she couldn’t remember his performance and some of his entourage probably included paid staff.

Not long after that, Necheles asked Daniels about Trump’s indictments, to which the adult film actress replied, “There are a lot of indictments.” Necheles moved to strike that answer from the record, but was rebuffed by Judge Juan Merchan.

Later, Necheles attempted to discredit Daniels by mentioning her merchandise sales, noting that she sold items based on Trump’s criminal proceedings.

“Not unlike Mr. Trump,” Daniels replied to a small amount of laughter in the courtroom.

When asking Daniels about her career in the adult film industry, Necheles insinuated that Daniels had made “a lot of phony stories about sex” appear to be real in her films. Daniels replied that the sex in her films “is very much real, just like what happened to me in that room [with Trump],” and followed up with a quip about her tryst with the former president.

“And if that story was untrue, I would have written it to be a lot better,” Daniels said.

Daniels’s testimony has included other jibes against Trump, resulting in “orange turd” being entered into the court record Tuesday. The term again came up in court Thursday during cross-examination.

Screenshot of a tweet

Daniels’s testimony, which has now concluded, has included salacious details about her affair with Trump, including his comparing her to his daughter, Ivanka, as well as an excuse Daniels used to avoid sex with him another time. But her testimony could also be very damaging to Trump’s case, as he can’t lie about her statements under the penalty of perjury.

Trump is facing 34 felony charges for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime by paying off Daniels through his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen. He has pleaded not guilty to all of them.

Here’s Barron Trump’s Consolation Prize for Dad Missing His Graduation

The youngest Trump child has been picked as a Florida delegate for the Republican National Convention.

Donald Trump, Melania Trump, and Barron Trump stand next to each other
James Devaney/GC Images/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s youngest son is about to join the new family business: leading the Republican conference.

After he graduates from high school next week, Barron Trump will assume his role as a Florida delegate to the Republican National Convention. The 18-year-old was selected as an at-large delegate, along with his siblings Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Tiffany Trump, according to a list released Wednesday by the Florida Republican Party.

Other family members named on the list include Tiffany’s husband, Michael Boulos, and Don Jr.’s fiancée, Kimberly Guilfoyle, whose name was misspelled to omit the first ‘L’ in her last name. Ivanka Trump—the presumed GOP presidential nominee’s former star child who left politics in an attempt to salvage her social life—was not listed.

The lineup also includes a wide swath of Trump allies and state-level officials who opted to back Trump over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the presidential race.

“We are fortunate to have a great group of grassroots leaders, elected officials, and members of the Trump family working together as part of the Florida delegation to the 2024 Republican National Convention,” Florida GOP chairman Evan Power said in a statement.

With his children’s selection as delegates, Trump is even closer to completely taking over the Republican Party. Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, has assumed the reins at the Republican National Committee. Since becoming co-chair in March, Lara has focused all of the RNC’s power on putting her father-in-law back in office.

Meanwhile, Trump has chosen to fly off to a Minnesota GOP rally on the same day as his son’s high school graduation on May 17, even after his attorneys fought to get him the day off in his New York hush-money trial in order to be with his family.

“We are thrilled to welcome President Trump back to Minnesota,” said Minnesota GOP chairman David Hann, announcing that Trump would be headlining the event after the former president was excused from his Friday attendance in New York. “I can think of no one more fitting to join us this year than President Trump.”

Remove Aileen Cannon Calls Grow After Classified Docs Case Blown Apart

There are growing calls to remove Judge Cannon from Trump’s classified documents case.

Judge Aileen Cannon headshot (looks like a yearbook photo, blue background)
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

After Judge Aileen Cannon announced that Donald Trump’s classified documents trial in Florida has been postponed indefinitely, there’s been a dramatic spike in calls for her removal or recusal from the case. 

Several online petitions have been launched from liberal and progressive websites, including one from the Daily Kos calling for her to recuse herself from the case with 102,000 signatures, and another led by Demand Justice, Demand Progress, Dose of Democracy, and People Power United with 42,622 signatures. Yet another petition from, with nearly 102,000 signatures, calls for Chief Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to remove Cannon from the case.

While online petitions don’t have a strong track record for accomplishing their goals, the calls show a growing backlash to Cannon, a Trump appointee, and her decisions that keep helping Trump. Even prior to being assigned to the documents case, Cannon drew ire from legal observers when she granted Trump’s request for a special master to review the classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago—only for her decision to be struck down by a federal appeals court, which rebuked her.

Later, after being formally assigned to the classified documents case, Cannon repeatedly drew ire for decisions that seemed to drag the case out and put potential witnesses at risk. Her rulings convinced at least one potential witness, former Mar-a-Lago worker Brian Butler, to publicly come forward and criticize Cannon’s handling of the case.

Cannon’s conduct even disillusioned some of her clerks, two of whom decided to quit as a result of her conduct on the classified documents case as well as an allegedly hostile work environment. Despite all this bad press, she still indefinitely delayed the case, possibly paving the way for a positive outcome for Trump. Barring any sort of action compelling her to be removed from the case, it seems as though the prosecution is also indefinitely stuck with Cannon’s delays and seemingly biased decisions.

Stormy Daniels Epically Humiliates Trump Just Minutes Into Trial

Daniels spilled some details about her sexual encounter with the former president.

Stormy Daniels speaks into a microphone
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s sexual escapades aren’t exactly the conquests that his allies have made them out to be—at least, not according to one woman he slept with.

Stormy Daniels continued her testimony on the stand Thursday, clarifying point blank that it was no high honor to sleep with the former reality TV star.

“Even though you had agreed that you would not discuss this supposed story and you had received a lot of money for that agreement, you then decided that you wanted to publicly say that you had sex with Donald Trump,” prompted Trump attorney Susan Necheles.

“No, nobody would ever want to publicly say that,” Daniels replied.

But that wasn’t her only punch at Trump’s bedroom performance. During another exchange in which Necheles attempted to sow doubt about Daniels’s vivid recollections of the events, the porn star reminded the court of her professional abilities.

“You bragged about being good at writing dialogue and sex scenes in adult films, right?” asked Necheles.

“If that story [with Trump] was untrue, I would have written it to be a lot better,” Daniels quipped back.

Daniels wasn’t keen to jump back into bed with Trump, either. On Tuesday, the actress revealed that she slinked out of his advances at a Los Angeles bungalow in 2007 by lying about being on her period.

Daniels’s get-out-of-jail-free card was a lighthearted anecdote in an otherwise heavy description of a relationship that stemmed from what she described as an “imbalance of power.” Daniels has previously said she was mad at herself for not seeing right away that Trump didn’t want to help her career and just wanted to have sex with her, and told the court Tuesday that she hates him.

Meanwhile, Trump’s allies—including Senator Ted Cruz, whom he humiliated in the 2020 election—have vehemently defended his sexual performance, with one Fox News host describing Trump as a “sex god” merely for getting a woman to have sex with him.

Trump is accused of using Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Trump Uses Break From Criminal Trial to Rant About Anti-White Racism

Donald Trump is vowing to crush “anti-white racism” if he wins the next election.

Angela Weiss/Pool/Getty Images

Very early Thursday morning, Donald Trump was posting feverishly on his Truth Social account, with one “Truth” being an article from the National Review titled “Yes, Fight Anti-White Racism.”

The post was one of many that Trump fired off just after midnight Thursday as his hush-money trial was set to resume hours later. His late-night avalanche of posts ranged from articles praising him to attacks on Joe Biden, Paul Ryan, and Rupert Murdoch.

His post on “anti-white racism” is not the first time the former president has brought up the made-up problem. His supporters inside and outside his presidential campaign are making plans to use civil rights laws to counter “anti-white racism,” attacking programs that seek to combat racism and provide economic opportunities to marginalized and minority groups.

In a recent interview with Time magazine, Trump railed against anti-white bias, saying, “But if you look right now, there’s absolutely a bias against white and that’s a problem.” It’s just one of many disturbing, but altogether incoherent, ideas Trump has for a second term if he’s reelected as president. His allies, including Christian nationalists, anti-immigrant xenophobes, and fascist admirers, are practically salivating for the chance to carry out their agendas. 

Bizarre New Wrinkle in Trump’s Fraud Case Could Hand Him a Big Win

The presiding judge in the case is under investigation.

Arthur Engoron looks forward
Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

A bit of alleged unsolicited advice may have compromised the judge in Donald Trump’s $454 million New York bank fraud trial.

New York’s judicial oversight body has opened an investigation into a conversation between Judge Arthur Engoron and real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey that allegedly occurred in the weeks leading up to the seismic judgment against Trump.

“I actually had the ability to speak to him three weeks ago,” Bailey told NBC New York on February 16, the day that Engoron’s decision was due. “I saw him in the corner [at the courthouse] and I told my client, ‘I need to go.’ And I walked over and we started talking.… I wanted him to know what I think and why.… I really want him to get it right.”

Bailey also said that Engoron had had a lot of questions about prior fraud cases and that they “went over it.” Ultimately, however, Engoron’s ruling went in a direction that Bailey did not advise: utilizing the statute to effectively shut down Trump’s New York real estate operation, which Bailey believed would hurt the local economy.

A spokesperson for Engoron denied in a statement that the unaffiliated attorney’s comments held any weight with the judge as he made his decision.

“No ex parte conversation concerning this matter occurred between Justice Engoron and Mr. Bailey or any other person. The decision Justice Engoron issued February 16 was his alone, was deeply considered, and was wholly uninfluenced by this individual,” Al Baker, a spokesman for the New York State’s Office of Court Administration, told NBC in a written statement.

The New York state rules of conduct specify that a “a judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications, or consider other communications made to the judge outside the presence of the parties or their lawyers,” though there is wiggle room for a judge to “obtain the advice of a disinterested expert” if the judge gives advance notice to both parties in the case with the possibility of issuing their own responses.

A member of the Trump defense team, Christopher Kise, claimed that the conversation could cast doubt on Engoron’s entire process.

“The code doesn’t provide an exception for ‘Well, this was a small conversation’ or ‘Well, it didn’t really impact me’ or ‘Well, this wasn’t something that I, the judge, found significant,’” Kise told NBC. “No. The code is very clear.”

Top Republicans Lose Their Mind Over Biden Delaying Weapons to Israel

Mitch McConnell and Mike Johnson are teaming up to hammer Joe Biden on his decision to delay sending arms to Israel over concerns they could be used in Rafah.

Jabin Botsford and Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Getty Images

President Biden briefly held up sending weapons to Israel this week, and Mitch McConnell and Mike Johnson promptly freaked out.

The Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader sent a rare joint letter to Biden on Wednesday saying they were “alarmed by media reports that your administration had delayed the delivery of a variety of weapons shipments bound for Israel. This news flies in the face of assurances provided regarding the timely delivery of security assistance to Israel.”

The shipment consisted of 1,800 2,000-pound bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs, according to the BBC, and the delay reportedly came because Biden administration officials felt Israel has not “fully addressed” humanitarian concerns in Rafah, a city on Gaza’s border with Egypt where small amounts of aid have entered the territory and where civilians from the rest of Gaza have fled during the war. Israel has recently begun a military operation in the city.

Other Republicans also expressed outrage at the delay.

Senator Lindsey Graham said, “If we stop weapons necessary to destroy the enemies of the state of Israel at a time of great peril, we will pay a price. This is obscene. It is absurd. Give Israel what they need to fight the war they can’t afford to lose.”

Republicans seem to be ignoring how Israel has already killed nearly 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza, including more than 14,500 children. The Biden administration has said previously that Israel’s military would cross a red line if they launched an operation on Rafah, but now maintain that Israel isn’t crossing that line. A cease-fire was agreed to by Hamas this week, only to be rejected by Israel, making Biden’s public statements and behind-the-scenes efforts toward Netanyahu look foolish.

Flippant statements from Israeli officials over the weapons holdup don’t help, either:

(A U.S. State Department spokesperson said in response, “Those comments are deplorable,” adding senior Israeli officials “should refrain from” these kinds of threats.)

At least one Democratic, or rather independent, senator saw the Biden administration’s decision as a good first step, perhaps toward a bigger move.

Bernie Sanders said:

Given the unprecedented humanitarian disaster that Netanyahu’s war has created in Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of children face starvation, President Biden is absolutely right to halt bomb delivery to this extreme, right-wing Israeli government. But this must be a first step.

The U.S. must now use ALL its leverage to demand an immediate ceasefire, the end of the attacks on Rafah, and the immediate delivery of massive amounts of humanitarian aid to people living in desperation. Our leverage is clear. Over the years, the United States has provided tens of billions of dollars in military aid to Israel. We can no longer be complicit in Netanyahu’s horrific war against the Palestinian people.

Mike Johnson Has a Racist Election Conspiracy He Admits He Can’t Prove

The Republican House speaker is pushing a new conspiracy theory right before the election, even as he says he can’t actually prove it’s true.

Mike Johnson speaking at a lectern and and holding his hand out
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

At a press conference Wednesday, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson pushed a right-wing conspiracy theory that undocumented immigrants are voting in elections—and then in the same breath admitted that there was no proof.

Johnson was speaking about the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility, or SAVE, Act, introduced by Republicans Wednesday in the House of Representatives and the Senate, which would require proof of citizenship to be able to vote in elections.

“We all know, intuitively, that a lot of illegals are voting in federal elections. But it’s not been something that is easily provable. We don’t have that number,” Johnson said.

Johnson claimed the new bill would allow states to track instances of illegal voting and would give them the ability to enforce the law against such instances. But the idea that “a lot of illegals” vote in elections is a long-standing right-wing myth, repeated without proof by personalities such as Elon Musk and far-right members of Congress like Byron Donalds. Statistics show that fewer than 1 percent of noncitizens even attempt to register to vote.

So why repeat it? It seems to be a recurring pattern for Republicans to scare up votes by demonizing immigrants. It hasn’t worked the last few elections, though, and this time around, Trump and the GOP even scuttled a border security bill out of fears it would be good for Biden, making it clear to voters that Republican rhetoric is merely theater. They want to use fear about immigration to win in 2024 so they can enact more laws like the Muslim ban and streamline deportations.